'If Mush steps down, US will attack FATA'

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Lahore, Apr 7: President Pervez Musharraf thinks that if he steps down as head of state, the US will go for direct military attacks on Pakistan's tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and will also take away Dr AQ Khan for interrogation. Official sources quoted Musharraf as saying that Gwadar port project would be adversely affected if he left the scene and consequently the country's time-tested relations with China could suffer a setback.

Similarly, Musharraf believes that in his absence no leader or party will be able to maintain cordial relations with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, they added. In view of the likely negative fallout Musharraf had no intention to quit the post to which he had been elected for five years, sources said. Moreover, they claimed that Musharraf's decision to stay in office was more in the 'national interests' than in his own. The sources said it was Musharraf who was keeping the US away from Dr Khan. They said that the US had been seeking access to the nuclear scientist for interrogation but it was the president who resisted all pressures and kept Dr Khan in a safe custody at home.

It was also because of Musharraf's strong personal links with President George Bush, the sources claimed, that the US was not attacking tribal areas. However, they said, the situation would change if Musharraf resigns. The sources said that the US and many other countries were opposed to the deep-sea Gwadar port project and they did not like to see it functional mainly because of China's role in the project, the Dawn reported.

The sources said that it was because of Musharraf's influence that the MQM was supporting the PPP in Sindh, they said, adding that no party or leader would have such relations with the MQM as the President.

ANI

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